June 29, 2009

HappyChyck Murphy's Struggle with School

I've made it halfway through my master's program. Wahoo!

I just keep logging into the online classes, plugging along. Two weekly discussion questions. Read some text, sometimes in the book, sometimes from articles. Write a reflection journal at the end of the week on what I've learned. (It takes about 20 minutes.) There's an assignment due each week, and twice a quarter, that assignment is done with a collaborative group.

When one class finishes, every eight weeks, another one pops up. I don't choose my courses, and I figured out by the third classes when I was taking the course to plan my research project that the courses aren't following the order I was told they would follow. Whatever, though. Just follow the syllabus, hang out in the online database system, and use my prior knowledge, and I'm breezin' through.

Yeah, whatever until summer starts and the assignments ask me to interact with students to help me try diagnose reading problems and try out some strategies on them. The course that starts next week is called "Developmental and Corrective Reading Processes." The syllabus was just posted, and of course, it's necessary for me use students in my course assignments. I was afraid of that. Look at the course title! Sounds like a hands-on course for sure! For the last nine months, when I had 170 of my own students to practice on, and 1200 other students that my colleagues would have gladly offered up for me to use (and help), I had ONE (1) assignment where I needed to use practical skills with a live student--and that was during last week of school.

Why me?

How fortunate I am to have my own children to practice on! For the course I just finished, I did call up on them twice, but they aren't as readily available as one might think, as they spend half the summer (a few weeks at a time) with their maternal grandparents in California. They are helpful, though. In their minds, the more they help me with my assignments, the faster I can finish and pay them more attention. Poor kids!

The first assignment of my new class suggests that I use a child from my classroom, a Sunday school class, or from the neighborhood. So nice of them to offer back-up suggestions just in case I take this course during the summer when I don't an active classroom at my fingertips. The point of the assignment is that I use a child I don't know very well. Ugh. Well, my kids have just spent 3 weeks with their grandma. Boy, have they changed a lot!

Seriously, though. It's too bad that I'm not taking these practical classes while school is in session. Working with my own elementary age children can help me be a better mom to them, but I will NEVER teach elementary school. I mean it, too. I am licensed to teach 7th grade and up. I'm not getting my degree in reading to be a specialist or consultant. I chose this degree to help me strengthen my weakest area of instruction. (When I'm ready to move on from my current position, I will not be looking to work low-level students, either.) Being able to use these new skills would be more relevant to me if I could try them on the field in which I am most used to playing: my classroom and school.

Okay that's the feel-good teacher thought.

Here's the underlying reason I just need to do whatever I need to do:

Moving over on the pay scale is my major motivating factor in getting my degree. I feel like I just need to endure so I can move on to things that are more interesting to me professionally and personally. Especially personally...Next summer, with more $$ in my pocket, I think I'll be able to find more fun things to do than diagnosing reading problems in the neighborhood's children.

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